Lives in the Archives: The A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 1.
Reilly’s criminal libel suit later became the subject of this pamphlet, written to show that God protects those who preach his truth.

by Jackson Hager, Graduate Assistant

One of the great joys of being able to work in an archive like The Texas Collection is how often one, amid the stacks and piles of collections, encounters remarkably human stories. Even when the collection is just a few folders, an archivist can sometimes feel like they have encountered a real person, with all the flaws and perfections that come with being a human. That was my experience as I was processing the A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland papers, where I came to catch a glimpse of the Waco’s past through the eyes of a passionate Baptist preacher and his wife.

Antonio Reilly Copeland was born on January 7, 1889, in Marquez, Texas. His future wife, Eunice Bessie Tooley, was born in Buffalo Springs, Texas, on November 30, 1891. The couple first met in 1903 and married in the summer in 1916. While Eunice studied music in Houston, Reilly attended college first in Commerce, then Tehuacana, Rome, and finally the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After the couple had had several children, the family made their entrance into Waco history when they moved there in 1923, as Reilly had been offered the pulpit at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 1500 15th and Clay Street.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 5.
Reilly’s writings show both a deep knowledge of scripture and a deep sense of God’s involvement within the world, as evidenced by the first page of one of his journals, titled “Some Signs Before Great Tribulation”

During his four decades of leading the Tabernacle community, Reilly was a prolific speaker and writer. His writings reveal a strong sense of right and wrong, and a zeal for adhering to what he saw as biblical truth. His confrontational style of writing, however, brought conflict. The most famous example of this is when Reilly was charged with criminal libel in 1925, after writing several letters detailing the moral failings of local Waco politicians. The charges were dropped in 1928, however, and Reilly continued to preach and write. He spent the latter half of his career delving deep into biblical study and debate. As evidenced by his letters, Reilly participated often in the debates surrounding Fundamentalism and Neo-Orthodoxy, and his journals show a deep interest in biblical prophecy and how it related to world at large. Reilly’s preaching was not just reserved for the pulpit, as he hosted a radio program for station WACO from 1941 to 1954. By the time of his resignation in the early 1960’s, Reilly had been a public voice for Baptists within the Waco community for almost forty years.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 3, Folder 7.
Eunice’s memoir covers nearly a century and contains a large amount of photos from nearly every decade of her life.

While Reilly’s writings may provide one picture of who he was, Eunice’s own memoirs help fashion a fuller image. Eunice dedicated more than half of her book to her time with Reilly and the family they made together, and we find that Reilly was a kind and loving husband and father. Eunice’s writings help shine a light on what it was like to be a preacher’s wife in the early 20th century, and how they dealt with the many changes that occurred during those turbulent years.

The lives of A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland may appear, in the grand scheme of things, of little impact. But it is through the small, personal stories of regular people that we obtain a deeper human connection to our past.

If you are interested in learning more about A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland, feel free to contact us at The Texas Collection and view the collection’s finding aid here!

John N. Rowe III Papers: A Texas Treasure

by Benna Vaughn, Manuscripts Archivist

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, The Texas Collection was the recipient of eight separate donations of materials from John N. Rowe, III. These donations collectively became the John N. Rowe III papers. Rowe, renown numismatist and collector from Dallas, began collecting bank notes as a small boy, and what began as a hobby became a life-long passion. This collection represents that passion and is steeped in Texas and Mexican history.

It isn’t every day that an archivist works with a collection that causes “oohhs” and “aahhs” with every turn of the page. The John N. Rowe, III papers are such a collection. It contains so much early Texas and Mexican history that it is hard not to stop and read every document. One of the most fascinating items in the papers is dated October 11, 1835, written to General Stephen F. Austin, and begins like this:

Bexar has fallen! Our brave citizen volunteers, with a persevering bravery and heroic valor, unparalleled in the annals of warfare, have triumphed over a force of twice their number and compelled the slaves of despotism to yield, vanquished by the ever resistless arms of freemen soldiers.

Now, if you are a Texan, that’ll wake you up in the morning! And just holding the letter, turned dark and torn in places, gives you goosebumps. It brings alive the feeling and zeal of the Texas Revolution.Continue Reading

Women’s Collections at Baylor University

by Anna Redhair, Graduate Assistant

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, Baylor University Libraries Special Collections and the Institute for Oral History launched a website for researching the various women’s collections and oral memoirs held across campus. The website includes materials from the Institute for Oral History; Armstrong Browning Library and Museum; Central Libraries Special Collections; Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society; The Texas Collection; and W. R. Poage Legislative Library.Continue Reading

Jules Bledsoe: Waco’s Famous Baritone

by Amanda Neel, Graduate Assistant

Jules leads the program at New York City’s Town Hall on 28 July 1940. You’ll find this item in the Jules Bledsoe Papers #2086, box 4, folder 2, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The shelves here at the Texas Collection hold many collections about the lives and experiences of African American Texans. One of these collections, the Jules Bledsoe Papers, concerns the life and musical career of Jules Bledsoe. Julian (Jules) Lorenzo Cobb Bledsoe was born in Waco, Texas on December 18, 1898 and went on to travel the world for his career as a baritone singer. His papers include his library of sheet music, recordings of performances, personal correspondence, programs, and much more.

Jules served in the military during World War I and moved to New York City after the end of the war. While in New York, he received an Honorable Discharge. However, his stint in New York only lasted a short while. Jules signed a performance contract with the Young Men’s Christian Association, Colored Branch in Penniman, Virginia. While in Virginia, Jules sat for photographs in dress uniform for, in his own words, “40 years from now I might want to point back to when I was a soldier in the World War and you know nothing is better evidence than a picture.” Though he lived and performed in Virginia, he set his sights on returning to New York City.

Jules returned to New York by 1920 and saw his career take off by 1925. He performed in places like the Manhattan Opera House and critics hailed him as one of the greatest baritones of the day. His letters home mention his work with great New York composers. He even performed his own compositions during recitals, including his most well-known piece, “Old Man River.” Though based in New York City and traveling the world, Jules never forgot about home. He returned to Waco many times throughout his career and performed multiple times at the New Hope Baptist Church.Continue Reading

Remembering Their Sacrifices: Baylor Faculty and Students During World War II

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

World War II witnessed the rise of the United States as a global superpower and the establishment of a new world order.  Historians, amateur and professional alike, devote their entire lives to studying the complexities and intricate details of “The Good War” including its battles, politicians, military commanders, causes, effects, etc.

BU Records: Armed Services Representative, Accession #BU/12, Box #2, Folder #25, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.<br />
Ray Priolo wrote this letter to Merle McClellan after his transfer from Baylor. Note that he only has kind words to say concerning Merle, Baylor students, and the campus. He even gives BU President Pat Neff a vote of approval.

While seeking to comprehend the broader historical and social implications of World War II, we sometimes forget how these events impacted the life of an individual.  Activities that we might take for granted, such as teaching and learning in a peaceful collegiate setting, were dramatically altered in a nation at war.  Over the past few months, I have processed two small but fascinating collections concerning Baylor University during World War II.  As a result, I have come to appreciate the sacrifices made by some of Baylor’s faculty and students during that time.

Merle Mears McClellan was one such remarkable faculty member.  Merle had earned a double major in history and science from the University of Texas in 1917 and had taught for years in the Gatesville area.  Following the death of her husband William, she earned her Master’s degree in 1941 at Baylor University where she taught various history courses over the next few years.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Baylor University President Pat Neff appointed Merle as the university’s Armed Services Representative in the spring of 1943.  In this role, she acted as a liaison between the university and the military.

Reflecting on her experiences, Merle was one of the few women who had been appointed to such a task.  In explaining why Neff had chosen her, she wrote, “He said, ‘You are a mother of one son in the Pacific.  Your normal reaction would be to send everyone to help him fight.  So if you say a boy is entitled to exemption no one on the McLennan Co. Draft Board will question your decision.  Furthermore, I know you and I know the Baylor boys will get everything to which they are entitled.” Continue Reading

Portrayals of Texans in Western Films

by Ben Leavitt, Graduate Assistant

This call sheet for Three Young Texans indicates resources necessary for a day of filming at California’s famed Iverson Movie Ranch—including three wranglers, eight horses and eighty-five hot lunches.

The Texas Collection maintains more than a half dozen screenplays either written by Texans or set in Texas. Many of these screenplays were used in the production of Western films, and from them we can get a good idea of the archetypal Texan. Generations of Americans were fascinated by the “Wild West”—how did they perceive the inhabitants of the Lone Star State when watching Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s?

Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and set along the Rio Grande in the early 1870s, Three Young Texans (1954) features cowboys with names like Johnny Colt, Tony Ballew, and Jeff Blair. Johnny’s character is “ruggedly handsome” and “intensely devoted to his boyhood pals,” while Tony “goes in for bright colored shirts and neckerchiefs.” Jeff, for his part, is “a big man both physically and mentally,” and “is friendly, easy-going and always ready to help a neighbor.”

Opposite Johnny, Tony, and Jeff is only one major female character: Rusty Blair. Played by actress Mitzi Gaynor, Rusty is nearly as much a cowboy as her male counterparts. Her character description notes that, “On the ranch she rides and ropes and gets her face dirty with the rest of the cow hands,” but “when she goes to a dance she’s a knockout and undisputed belle of the Rio Grande Valley.”Continue Reading

Summer at The Texas Collection: Students Share Their Findings

This month we are featuring two students that worked at The Texas Collection over the summer. Check out the collections they worked with while they were here!

History doctoral student Joel Iliff

While scholars of pedagogy speak of “flipping the classroom,” I feel that my work at The Texas Collection has been an exercise in “flipping the archives.” By this I mean that as a historian I have long been accustomed to working with archival materials that others have preserved and organized, but now I have preserved and organized materials for others to use.

Photo of Julia and Finlay Graham with son James
Julia and Finlay Graham with son James. You’ll find this photograph in Julia and Finlay Graham papers #4003, box 38, folder 7, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Rights: Some rights reserved. E-mail txcoll@baylor.edu for information about the use of our images. Visit www.baylor.edu/lib/texas/ for more information about our collections.

Instead of letting me get my feet wet with a small collection, the processing archivist, Paul Fisher, began my internship with a metaphorical cannonball into the 72 document boxes of the Julia and Finlay Graham papers. Hailing from Texas and Scotland, respectively, Julia and Finlay Graham met in post-World World II Palestine and served in the Middle East as Southern Baptist missionaries for the next forty years. Though most of the collection documents their teaching and evangelistic ministries, their papers also contain glimpses into the politics of the Middle East, as the Grahams witnessed events such as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Lebanese Civil War. After removing hundreds of duplicate pages, I reduced the 72 box leviathan to 50 boxes and a finding aid.

Closer to home, I also processed and created a finding aid for the records of the Waco Regional Baptist Association. Founded in 1860, the association remains a vital institution for Baptists in central Texas. I was particularly interested in the association’s records from the 1950s through the early 1970s, which provide a wealth of information on race and religion in central Texas in the era of the Civil Rights movement.

The historian in me constantly envisioned how these collections could contribute to studies of the modern Middle East, twentieth-century Baptist missions, the Civil Rights movement, and a myriad of other topics. Although these studies will have to be written by other scholars, I hope that I have made their jobs easier through my work over the summer.

Museum Studies graduate student Valencia Johnson

Photo of Valencia Johnson, Museum Studies graduate student
Valencia Johnson, Museum Studies graduate student, at The Texas Collection.

For an aspiring archivist with my disposition and imagination, spending time with papers is ideal. At a certain point in processing archival documents, the collection becomes a real entity; life reenters the boxes, and a complex picture emerges. This reanimation is what I learned in my time at the Texas Collection working on the W.R. White papers. His world, voice, and experience had been locked away for decades, and now they are tangible again.

The collection has been a joy and a challenge. I processed a small four box collection for The Texas Collection in the spring, but W.R. White’s collection held 226 boxes—I had entered the big leagues. Undertaking such a vast and diverse collection has deepened my knowledge and appreciation of archival work.

Expanding Your Search in BARD

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

In our previous BARD posts, we’ve been exploring how to make the most of our new database in various ways. In our last post in this series, we offer a few more ways to discover Texas Collection resources: tips on browsing larger collections, using BARD’s advanced search, and opening attachments to collections.

You can enter the BARD system by clicking the link on our home page. We have already learned how to search by keyword, but maybe you already know the title of the collection you want to see and just need to know which boxes to request. For example, you might want to look at Pat Neff’s finding aid. You could enter “Pat Neff” into the search field like we did before, or you could click on the blue “N” for “Neff” under “Browse Collections.” If the collection features a person, then it will be filed under their last name in the system.

Search by letterAs you can see below, clicking these letters can bring up a lot of collections! The Neff collection is in the center of the page. Once you have found the collection you want, click the title to bring up the finding aid.

N search resultsThe Neff collection finding aid is different from some others because it is so big. For example, on the left, there are blue + signs to the left of the series titles. In the first blog post in this series, we discovered that by clicking on the series titles, we could bring up just that part of the collection. In the Neff collection, you can click on the blue + symbols to expand your viewing options within the series. By clicking on these new options, you can go to an even more specific part of the collection.

Plus signs to expand searchAnother way to search for collections is to use the advanced search feature. You can easily access this feature by clicking “Advanced Search” in the blue bar at the top of the page.

Advanced searchThere are several handy things that can help in using this way to search. For titles, creators, and subjects, you can narrow the search by checking “exact match” so that the system is only searching using your exact words.

Exact matchYou can also enter a term to search in the title, creator, or subject box, and then press “Enter” or click “Get Hit Count” in the upper-right corner. The hit count number tells you how many times your term appears across all collections. This can be handy if you are looking for something specific; it can tell you quickly how many potential places you might need to research (or if perhaps you should refine your search terms).

Hit count

Another helpful tool on Cuadra Star is the ability to view files attached to collections. Some collections may have examples of photographs found in collections, family trees, or other files attached to them. For example, the Edward C. Blomeyer Photographic Collection finding aid in BARD includes some samples of photographic materials in the collection. To get to them, search using the keyword “Blomeyer,” click on the finding aid, and expand out the blue + symbols. You can click on any of the titles next to the + links, but as an example I clicked on “Cameron Park, Rivers, and Bridges” under “Texas” and “Waco.”

Exploring attachments (Cameron Park, Rivers, and Bridges)Once you get here, you can peruse the thumbnail photographs as they are on the page, or you can expand them by clicking on a photo.

Expanded attached imageUsually in this view you can see information about the photograph, what we call “metadata”—information giving you context for the item, which may be helpful for your research and citation.

When you are done viewing finding aids in BARD, be sure to close down the system properly. In the main search page, in the upper right corner, click the red “Log Out” to exit from BARD. Leaving the system in this way is very important to ensure the proper functioning of the system.

Log outThis concludes our series of how to navigate in BARD. If you have any questions as you are using it, please let us know!

Before Brittney: A Legacy of Champions

Love the Lady Bears? Ever wonder about the beginnings of women’s athletics at Baylor? Well, we have a book for you!

Goodloe-coverWe have many researchers visit The Texas Collection who are working on book projects, and we are always so excited when we hear one has been completed. Dr. Nancy Goodloe, emeritus professor of health education at Baylor, visited our collection several times while working on Before Brittney: A Legacy of Champions. Her recently published book explores the path from the first female varsity letter winners in 1904—and then there were no more varsity letters awarded to women until 1976—to the national prominence Baylor women’s athletics enjoys today.

Goodloe, a former Bearette, coach, and athletic trainer in the women’s programs (1965-76), places Baylor’s story in the national context of struggles for women’s intercollegiate athletics. At The Texas Collection, Goodloe drew on the Olga Fallen papers, presidential records, Lariats, Round-Ups, and our photograph files. She also interviewed various coaches, athletes, and other people who witnessed the development of women’s athletics at Baylor.

The Baylor Bookstore is hosting a book signing event on March 22 from 10-11:30 am. Books will be available for purchase at the event. If you can’t make it but would like to order the book, it is available for purchase via the publisher’s website.

Interested in hands-on exploration of women’s athletics at Baylor? Check out our blog post on the Olga Fallen papers and Flickr sets here, here, and here on women’s basketball, and there are some good tennis photos too. And then there are the athletics photos we’ve put on our Texas Collection photos page on Baylor’s digital collections site. But these online resources are just the tip of the iceberg, so come and do some research with us at The Texas Collection!

Connecting Resources in BARD

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

BARD BannerIn our last post on BARD, we learned how to get to the database, where the finding aids are to different collections, and how to navigate within the finding aid to find the materials you want to see. In this post, we will discover how subject terms work in BARD, how to print or make a PDF of your search results, as well as how to navigate to related web pages.

You can enter the BARD system by clicking the link on our home page. Once in the system, you have several options for finding resources. For this example, let’s say you want to see all the collections that have anything to do with Baylor University at Independence. To look for this, you could enter the words “Baylor at Independence” in the search field in the center of the screen.

BARD screenshot-search Baylor at Independence

When I did this search, 55 results came up! Click “Display Finding Aid” under each entry to view further information about each collection.

Since we have thousands of collections in the database, you may wish to narrow your search by using the subject terms under the “Top Subject Clusters” on the left side of the page.

BARD screenshot--subject clusters

For example, you could click on the “Baylor University – Presidents” term to bring up just the collections on Baylor presidents that have to do with Baylor at Independence…

BARD screenshot--Baylor at Independence-Presidents-Preview view

…and this page will come up. Displayed are the five collections that have to do with Baylor University at Independence and also have something to do with Baylor presidents during that time.

You can click the “Select Format” menu on the upper-left side of the page to toggle between different views (Brief, Preview, or Full) that will give you more or less information. (The view above is Preview.)

BARD screenshot-change view

Let’s say that you have found some collections that you would like to examine at The Texas Collection. Since you are looking for something to do with Baylor University presidents at the time Baylor was at Independence, you probably want to see all five collections listed here, but you may not have time right now to peruse all the finding aids. Rather than writing down all five collections, you can print or save this list. Click on the “Brief” view under “Select format” on the left, and then click “Print/save” to open a window to print, or Print/save PDF to open a file to save.

BARD screenshot-Printing Brief view

By opening this view, you can then print using your browser’s print function, or save a PDF file to your flash drive. Now you can remember which specific finding aids to look at later and figure out which boxes you’ll need to use, which will help you set your research appointment with our staff.

BARD screenshot-Print screen

You can also explore collections that are filed under the same search terms from within a finding aid. Let’s say that you were intrigued by the BU Records: Baylor Historical Society finding aid from above. Go back to the main search page from before, and click on “Display Finding Aid.”

BARD screenshot-subject terms in finding aid

From within this window, go down to all the terms in blue under “Subjects.” These are all keywords that you can use to find similar collections within The Texas Collection. For example, you can click “Baylor University – Presidents” to see all the collections that we have indexed with that term.

BARD screenshot-BU presidents

This way of moving across connected collections can be very valuable, since many of our collections are connected to other collections.

You can also see resources consulted for the finding aids that you see in BARD. For example, let’s say you were reading along in the BU Records: Baylor at Independence finding aid.

BARD screenshot-Baylor at Independence finding aid

When you get down to the “Related Resources” part of the finding aid, there is a list of resources consulted for this finding aid. Many of these are in blue to indicate a hyperlink and can be clicked to take you directly to that resource or a catalog listing to tell you how to find it. If you clicked on “Murray, Lois Smith. Baylor at Independence. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 1972” the link would take you to that resource in BearCat, our library catalog. You would then have all the information you would need to request that book the next time you come to The Texas Collection.

BearCat screenshot-Baylor at Independence

When you are done viewing finding aids in BARD, be sure to close down the system properly. In the main search page, on the upper right corner, click the red “Log Out” to exit from BARD. Leaving the system in this way is very important to ensure the proper functioning of the system.

BARD-LogoutStay tuned for one more entry with helpful hints about using BARD!

In November 2013, the Baylor University Libraries officially opened BARD (Baylor Archival Repositories Database). This is the second post in an ongoing series to celebrate the opening of this digital research database, and show some of the new ways to find resources.